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  Iran, 1980: the revolutionaries have taken charge. In a deserted Teheran hotel, Ry-szard Kapuscinski tries to make journalistic and human sense out of the mass of notes, tapes, and photographs he has accumulated during his extended stay in Iran. Just what happened and how? What did Khomeini have to offer that the Shah, who promised to "create a second America within a generation," did not? Where did the revolution come from, and where is it going? After all this blood has been spilled, what has it given its people or the world? "We have given the world poetry, miniatures, carpets," says a rug merchant in Teheran. "We have given the world this miraculous, unique use-lessness."

Kapuscinski tells a rich story that combines factual reporting with his own impressions and reflections. Always engrossing and frequently revelatory, it is a unique portrait of the psychological state of a country in revolution.

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